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Old 03-21-2021, 04:38 PM   #1
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Tips on replacing fuel tanks

I have seen this subject on TF. A good read.

https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/m...ource=hs_email
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Old 03-21-2021, 05:23 PM   #2
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My boat was built with 2 - 100 Gal poly tanks. I would not want anything else.
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Old 03-21-2021, 05:59 PM   #3
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I have two aluminum tanks that are properly mounted so that they sit above the bilges and have air space all the way around. I doubt they will ever need to be replaced for corrosion issues. However, I have been considering a trip that might require 250 more gallons than I presently have tankage for . One way of solving this would be to have a custom polyethylene tank made that used the bilge space for for greater capacity.

The other possibility would be to just add a bladder tank to my lazarette.
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Old 03-21-2021, 06:24 PM   #4
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I have two aluminum tanks that are properly mounted so that they sit above the bilges and have air space all the way around. I doubt they will ever need to be replaced for corrosion issues.
My tanks are similar. Heavy aluminum, well mounted under the aft bunk. They're in good shape after 35 years
But just in case, I did some measuring and if I take the door and door frame apart in the aft cabin, some careful work would allow a tank to be carried out of the boat with the fittings removed. Fortunately, being that my tanks are full of gas, not diesel, I don't have the same concerns for water in the tanks. Of course, the idea of a leak is that must scarier as a result...
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Old 03-21-2021, 06:55 PM   #5
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Our boat has fiberglass diesel tanks. One of the reasons we bought it.
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Old 03-21-2021, 07:09 PM   #6
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As long as your aluminum tanks don't have damage from water and organisms in the bottom of the tank.
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Old 03-22-2021, 12:03 AM   #7
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I religiously add double recommended amount of Zoltron into gasoline volume in each of our Tolly's 100 gal aluminum tanks. Good for diesel too.

This liquid dissolves critters/growths and makes water that may be inside a tank emulsify with the fuel. I'm confident of its capabilities due to reasons of needing to have its capabilities successfully alter circumstances regarding fuel in my boat's tanks and filter system; upon purchase. Task was fully accomplished... after just two 1/2 tank fulls. Used it since for well over a decade - consistent results... continually clean gasoline in filters.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:50 AM   #8
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I didn't realize that "critters" grew in gasoline.

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Old 03-22-2021, 08:54 AM   #9
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I didn't realize that "critters" grew in gasoline.

Gas doesn't usually grow algae and such like diesel, but if it's non ethanol gas, it can collect water in the tanks just as badly as diesel with the same inside-out tank corrosion risk. And with enough water down there, I'd assume there's something that could start to grow. Ethanol gas absorbs water (provided it's not so much that the gas separates and goes bad), so the tanks stay dry. When running non-ethanol (which is most of the time these days) I make a point to throw a few bottles of dry gas (isopropyl alcohol) in the tanks periodically to soak up any stray bits of moisture to avoid them building up in the bottom of the tanks.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:59 AM   #10
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I didn't realize that "critters" grew in gasoline.

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Pete

I often use poetic license! LOL I.e., "critters/growth" a quote from my post.

"Bacteria and fungus cause microbial growth. Microbial growth occurs when water is in the storage tank and fuel temperature is between 10 C and 40 C. Bacterial and fungal spores commonly found in the soil can enter the fuel tank through vents on the storage tank or through contamination during filling."
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:48 AM   #11
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Gas doesn't usually grow algae and such like diesel, but if it's non ethanol gas, it can collect water in the tanks just as badly as diesel with the same inside-out tank corrosion risk. And with enough water down there, I'd assume there's something that could start to grow. Ethanol gas absorbs water (provided it's not so much that the gas separates and goes bad), so the tanks stay dry. When running non-ethanol (which is most of the time these days) I make a point to throw a few bottles of dry gas (isopropyl alcohol) in the tanks periodically to soak up any stray bits of moisture to avoid them building up in the bottom of the tanks.
When we got our Tolly in 2008... Orig owner had passed at 90 some years. He'd lived aboard in a slip with no new fuel for over a decade. At 1K metered hours, port engine had just been fully rebuilt and starboard got a complete new top end - both hands-on accomplished by a renowned marine mechanic. Also the starboard trans had just been rebuilt by a great trany shop that I've used for decades. [whole sequence is an interesting story of its own!].

First thing I did was open up the dual screw-on canister gasoline filters [separate filter for each tank]. Fuel in each looked really bad [poured them into big glass container] sorta reminded me of dirty, particle filled pancake syrup... but not as thick or sticky. I immediately screwed on new filter canisters and brought both tanks to 1/2 full... they had been near empty. While filling [with 5 gal portable tanks] I simultaneously [so it mixed well with the fuel] put well over 4X recommended amount of Soltron into each tank. Let it set for a few days.

Started the engines, let em warm up and run for a while at idle. Did same thing with fuel in filter visual inspection [still very dirty] and put on new filter canisters. Let things set again for a few days. Started the twins again and let em idle for well over an hour. Did same again with the filters. This time much cleaner fuel color and way less junk floating in the fuel. Did that whole scene one more time. Fuel had gotten quite clear and had next to no junk floating around.

After that we took the boat out and ran it for a few hours. Again did full check on fuel and new canisters on filters. Noticed a bit off color of the fuel and no junk. Some days later we cruised the boat for a while. I repeated the filter/fuel stuff... fuel looked good! Then I made sure tanks were again 1/2 full with 4X Soltron added while filling.

To close up this post - want to say - After the two 1/2 tanks and many filter replacements with much Soltron added the fuel has always stayed 100% clear. Soooo... As I had such good results in the beginning I always keep 2X more than recommended Soltron in our two 100 gallon aluminum gasoline tanks
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Old 03-22-2021, 11:30 AM   #12
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I have seen this subject on TF. A good read.

https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/m...ource=hs_email
Boy, that's a pablum article, for sure. As is typical of mainstream yachting magazine articles, few of them written by professional boatwrights, this article simply broad-brushes some very significant technical issues related to marine fuel tanks. While the article (perhaps) is food for thought, it's little more than eye candy.

In my opinion, while the article suggests 15 to 20 years as end-of-life for tankage, this may be the only factual, useful information in the article. And for every journalist that suggests a 15-year service life for tankage, there will be a bozillion anecdotal responses by others braying that "...mine are black iron, have lasted for 40 years, and are PERFECT." "...I add (insert your own brand here) mouse milk to my fuel, and it works GREAT." "...Make your tanks out of monel. They'll last forever." etc. There may be more miscellaneous misinformation extent on the WWW (and in yachting magazines!) regarding marine fuel tanks than Carter has pills.

Very telling from the article is the very first picture of the workers at Tiara, installing a plastic tank into a new 38LS. And the tell? IT'S GOING IN BEFORE THE DECK GOES ON. So how come the journalist isn't commenting on this absolutely ridiculous oh-so-common practice by production yacht manufacturers? Is there any such thing as objective journalism any more?

Further subtle contradictions in reality lay in the paragraphs in the article referring to fiberglass tankage, once used by Hatteras and Bertram, (and currently by other unnamed but "quality" builders such as Pacific Asian Enterprises). And that reality is that Bertram, to name only one, has had MULTIPLE reported failures of their fiberglass tankage, forcing (typically) aluminum replacement.

And "fantastic plastic"? Any claims by ANYONE that plastic (a generic term for a multiplicity of non-metallic materials) tankage will last for the life of the boat is full of more stuff than a christmas goose. And admittedly, this article does NOT make this claim-good on 'em. Plastic may be arguably a better choice than others for new construction, but no panacea for poor installation practices (foaming in place? Please, NOOOOOOOO....). And, given the practicalities of rotomolding, forcing significant compromise in replacement plastic tankage due to installation issues. The "...material for the future?" Well, I'm not likely to bet on ANY petroleum product as a "material for the future".

So is there any real solution to the financial conundrum of fuel tank issues for both the shareholders of major yacht manufacturing companies, and us poor slobs left holding the bag with failed fuel tanks (and water/holding as well) while trying to deal with poor installation practices and poor material choices by the builders? No, not unless and until we, the yachting "public", start to nag, bray, lobby, yell, demand, and cajole those yachting professional boatwrights that service BOTH sides of the owner/builder fence.

Cajole them to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE acknowledge that tankage has a finite service life. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE provide soft patches above equipment areas on boats. If the tankage is installed in the engine room, please provide a soft patch in not only the engine room ceiling, but in the salon ceiling above, to allow major equipment to be removed from our boats intact. Forcing downstream owners, left with failed tankage after 15, 20, 25 years of service life to use a sawzall to effect tankage removal is reprehensible, and the boating industry should be ashamed. And we, who PAY for this practice, should demand better from our suppliers.

Sorry for this rant, but as a veteran of way too many marine tank failures that could have been easily remediated by some sound forethought from the various naval architects and builders, it's a hot button for me.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 03-28-2021, 06:36 AM   #13
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"This liquid dissolves critters/growths and makes water that may be inside a tank emulsify with the fuel."

A gas powered boat has far less hassles with emulsified fuel than a diesel , which hopes to pass only clear fuel to the engine.
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:13 AM   #14
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To Art:

Very interesting story. I'm so glad it worked out for you. One question.. Gas or Diesel? you didn't mention. They are different and age differently.

I am assuming that if they were gas you would have mentioned something about the smell. Old gas has a distinct varnish, stale smell. Probably would have required carb rebuilds also.

Congratulations on dodging a bullet.

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Old 03-28-2021, 09:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jungpeter View Post

Sorry for this rant, but as a veteran of way too many marine tank failures that could have been easily remediated by some sound forethought from the various naval architects and builders, it's a hot button for me.

Regards,

Pete
Boy o' Boy, Pete... glad you got that off your chest!

So... I'd like us all on TF to freely banter onto a "tankage-idiom" filled discussion of anecdotes and antidotes wherein experiences and solutions stand at forefront. That is, for the good of the boating community!

First - Congratulations on owning a Tollycraft 48' tri cabin, cockpit! What year is it? I love the 48's. May I ask - How are the tanks in tour Tolly and how have they fared over the years? Please share.

I'll say, the apparently original, 44 year old aluminum tanks in our 1977 gasoline powered 34' Tolly tri cabin, sundeck are still looking good and serving well. Similar regarding the two plastic water tanks. And, the now 12 year old black tank; that is doing fine with no odor emittance at all.

Second - With you being "... a veteran of way too many marine tank failures..." could you please describe your experiences as well as what you did to remedy/alleviate the problems? Any high notes for extending tank life as well as for replacing tanks when necessary could be of great assistance to current boat owners as well as to "boat-lookers" who are visiting boats in contemplation of purchase.

Reason I ask the above is because there are millions of boat owners who right now own or are looking at older boats. Personally, even though our fuel tanks currently look great and serve well, I have already formulated a procedure to replace them. Would sure be good to learn what you did to remedy your "... way too many marine tank failures...". I'll bet you have some experience and tricks that would be great for all on TF to have at hand when/if any of us need to continue/improve tank maintenance, remove old tanks and/or to install new tanks in our beloved boats.

Happy Tolly-Ownership Daze - Art
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:24 AM   #16
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I'll say, the apparently original, 44 year old aluminum tanks in our 1977 gasoline powered 34' Tolly tri cabin, sundeck are still looking good and serving well.

That gives me some hope for having more life left in my still apparently healthy aluminum gas tanks (which are 35 years old at this point).
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:41 AM   #17
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To Art:

Very interesting story. I'm so glad it worked out for you. One question.. Gas or Diesel? you didn't mention. They are different and age differently.

I am assuming that if they were gas you would have mentioned something about the smell. Old gas has a distinct varnish, stale smell. Probably would have required carb rebuilds also.

Congratulations on dodging a bullet.

pete
Pete - Thanks on the congrats! Hoping my "luck" holds out... forever if possible! LOL

Our Tolly is a gasser! Twin 1977 Mercruiser - 350 ci , 255 hp. each. 7.5 kW Kohler gen set. Twins had starboard full rebuild and port all new top end 13 years ago. No odors at all in engine compartment... I'm often down there with two very wide hatches full open in mid salon area [I care for them like baby's - center of engines standup headroom makes service easy and is very appreciated]. In general... this layout makes it simple to deal with engines and other mechanical items. Gets a little touchy servicing outboard engine sides - a trade off I readily accept for having twins; and, I do love twin screws!
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:46 AM   #18
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That gives me some hope for having more life left in my still apparently healthy aluminum gas tanks (which are 35 years old at this point).
Much about owning and playing with our ridiculously poor investment "Pleasure-Boats" is all about a "Wish and a Hope"!

But ain't it fun!!! If ya gotta have an addiction... pleasure boating is surely a Great One!
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Old 03-28-2021, 10:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by FF View Post
"This liquid dissolves critters/growths and makes water that may be inside a tank emulsify with the fuel."

A gas powered boat has far less hassles with emulsified fuel than a diesel , which hopes to pass only clear fuel to the engine.
I recommend reading much of this website: https://soltron-gtr.com/

IMO - Soltron works!
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Old 03-28-2021, 10:11 AM   #20
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Art - Are those belt covers on your Mercs factory? I occasionally wish for them on mine, as the exposed belts lead to me strongly disliking ever having to crawl outboard (past the front of the engines) with an engine running.
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